You are here:Home/Research/ Support for Research/ Fellowships/ Fellowship Reports/ 2016–2017/ Local Responses to Global Crises: Resilience and Vulnerability in Late Byzantine Rural Communities in the Northern Aegean

Local Responses to Global Crises: Resilience and Vulnerability in Late Byzantine Rural Communities in the Northern Aegean

Fotini Kondyli, University of Virginia, Summer Fellow 2016–2017

I argue for rural communities’ agency and resilience, particularly nonelites, and seek to reinstate them in the Byzantine historical narrative long dominated by the actions of emperors and urban elites. During my fellowship, I researched rural communities and resilience, the topic of my first monograph. I explored the social and economic makeup of late Byzantine rural communities on Lemnos and Thasos, and considered how changes in their socioeconomic strategies allowed them to respond to and survive the economic and demographic challenges of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. I also took advantage of Dumbarton Oaks’ holdings on Mediterranean and Mesoamerican studies on rural communities to better understand from a cross-cultural perspective how social ties contribute to resilient communities. I worked on questions of community-building and explored Byzantine processes and practices that enhanced a sense of belonging and collectiveness, and consequently contributed to community resilience. I focused on the role of shared experiences, perceptions, and responsibilities in rural landscapes.